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When I first tried my hand at journalism and was as green as a St. Patrick's Day parade, I had the good fortune of having Roberta as my editor.
She not only displayed the fidelity to truth, intolerance of pretense and sharply irreverent humor to be found among the best of our profession, but she also taught me important lessons about the craft of writing.
I still vividly recall her injunction, "Kill your precious babies." She may not have completely cured my tendency to indulge in overwrought metaphor, but she helped bring it into remission, thus enabling me to find gainful employment and a gratifying career.
Charles Burress spent 25 years as a reporter and editor at the San Francisco Chronicle.
Editing is more than just putting a comma in the right place, correcting a misspelled word or making a sentence fragment whole.
Editing is also knowing when there are excess words. It's spotting which paragraphs to move up and which ones to move down. It's suggesting a spin on a story the writer may have missed while hunkered down in the midst of a tale.
Roberta Alexander can do all of these things. She is one of the most versatile, competent and careful editors I know.
Roberta can diagram a sentence with the best of them. She knows the grammatical ins and outs of nouns, verbs, adjectives, semi-colons and prepositional phrases.
She also understands the overall sense of a story. She senses what makes an article or piece of fiction work.
I have found Roberta can clean up your copy as well as enhance your storytelling. On top of that, she's funny -- a rare trait in editors.
Your manuscript is in good hands with Roberta.
David Mills is a television news writer/producer in San Francisco.
Roberta Alexander is one of the savviest and most talented editors I
know. We met as San Francisco Bay Area newspaper colleagues and have
remained in touch ever since. She is also a highly accomplished
writer and showed me how to craft effective, evocative first-person
My pieces have been published in numerous national and regional
publications, including The New York Times, Metropolitan Home, Newsday
and Wisconsin Trails. Roberta was my first reader for nearly every one
of those pieces. No matter how well I thought I had written a story,
she was able to tell me what needed fixing and asked questions that
led me to rethink a passage or turn of phrase and successfully finish
the piece. Her gifted, precise editorial eye, sensitivity to narrative
and emotional nuance, and respect for my writer's voice have helped me
become a better writer as well as a better editor of my own work.
Patrick Keeffe is a writer and journalist who lives in New York.
Roberta is an editor who understands nuance. As an accomplished writer
herself, she knows how important it is for an editor to understand not
just what a writer is saying, but how that writer thinks.
Roberta uses that skill to help writers get to the essence
of what they want to say in a voice and tone that are natural.
I've worked with Roberta for more than 20 years and I can tell you,
she's as good as they come.
Patrick Twohy is a senior editor at the San Francisco Business Times.
In my many years as, first, a broadcast journalist, and more recently, a print journalist whose work has garnered multiple AP awards, I have rarely met an editor as talented as Roberta Alexander.
I never hesitate to entrust a project to her editing. She is a gifted wordsmith, both meticulous and creative, who never fails to make a writer's copy shine.
Carol Bogart is an Emmy-winning journalist.
Last year Roberta read in manuscript my recently published book of short stories, "All They Had," remebrances of World War II, with an eye to glaring errors, style, grammar, and general literary content.
She pointed out several glaring errors and omissions for which I will be eternally grateful. Her eye is sharp and her knowledge of language impressive.
But then she can also write well herself, so it is small wonder. But it is a wonder. I recommend and commend her to all.
Carl Heinze is a retired newspaperman and writer.